Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the latest cynical attack by the Palestinian Authority against marginalized people in Palestine, noting that the ban on activities by al-Qaws is an attempt to distract from the PA’s ongoing failure to defend Palestinian rights from Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid. While the PA claimed that it was investigating how to end its catastrophically damaging “agreements” with the Israeli occupation, in reality, security coordination with the occupier at the expense of the Palestinian people continues on a daily basis.
By targeting LGBTQ-identified Palestinians, Palestinian Authority security officials – also responsible for carrying out security coordination with the occupation on the ground and locking up Palestinian youth and students in political detention – are attempting to claim the mantle of religious and cultural identity to hide the PA’s ongoing involvement in coordinating “security” with the occupier. Instead, the PA seems to be attempting to incite conflict between Palestinians while providing free propaganda to the pinkwashing campaigns of the colonial Israeli regime and Zionist organizations around the world, while marginalized Palestinians bear the brunt.
“This dangerous reaction only proves once again that the PA is serving as a tool in the hands of the Zionist occupation that is used to oppress our people and to break any movement against the occupation. We know, very well, that the Zionist entity will be the only baneficiary of these repressive actions against LGBTQ-identified Palestinians. We can already see how these forces – which actively attack Palestinians of all identities through ongoing colonization, apartheid, occupation, killings, siege, imprisonment and dispossession – have already begun to disingenuously use this action to pinkwash the occupation.”
“Al-Qaws and other organizations have played a key role in building international awareness of the real situation of the Palestinian people, exposing the pinkwashing propaganda of the occupation state. Their members are part of the Palestinian people and our national liberation movement. The Palestinian people are diverse in our struggle for national and social liberation, and our diversity includes the LGBTQ community. Our vision of liberation includes justice for all.”
“These events should only encourage progressive and revolutionary LGBTQ movements and communities around the world to escalate their solidarity with the Palestinian people through fighting pinkwashing campaigns and building the boycott campaign against the racist, settler-colonial Israeli apartheid project and the BDS movement. Palestinians of all identities and sexualities are fighting for liberation from settler-colonialism as well as fighting for social liberation and democratic rights. It is impossible to achieve the latter without the fotmer.”
“Pinkwashing campaigns are, in reality, an international propaganda assault on LGBTQ Palestinians by the very forces most responsible for their oppression. We know that the Palestinian Authority is engaging in ongoing security coordination with the Israeli occupation. Far from protecting Palestinian values, it has completely sold out those values while pursuing normalization and cooperation with the Zionist occupation and the imperialist forces that fund, aid and arm it. In response to these attacks, this is the time to intensify all of our efforts to fight for national and social liberation in Palestine and for freedom for all oppressed communities.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins organizers and activists throughout occupied Palestine in condemning the normalization meetings undertaken by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with a delegation from the so-called “Israel Democratic Party” and it alliance, the Democratic Union. This meeting comes amid the approach to the Israeli elections scheduled in early September, in which the Israeli war criminal Ehud Barak – founder of this party – is marketing himself as a “left” competitor to his fellow war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas’ meeting with the representatives of Barak’s party – presented as a reunion with the granddaughter of Yitzhak Rabin and a symbolic reconstruction of the Oslo alliance – aims to perpetuate normalization of allegedly “left” Israeli forces which in fact represent the same brutal policies toward the Palestinian people, rooted in settler colonialism and Zionist racism, as their electoral rivals in the Likud or the Yisrael Beitenu of Avigdor Lieberman.
Such meetings with representatives of Israeli parties, competing for the right to oppress, exile and besiege the Palestinian people and escalate war threats against Iran and even Lebanon, only serve to normalize war criminals. Instead, all such parties – fundamentally based on the negation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people to return, self-determination and national liberation on their land – should instead be clearly and firmly boycotted.
When Palestinian Authority officials engage in normalization meetings, this undermines the efforts of people of conscience around the world – including and especially Palestinian communities and organizations in exile and diaspora – to boycott Israeli political parties and institutions. International solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement can never be found in the accommodation of war criminals like Ehud Barak and his latest political machinations. Instead, popular movements around the world stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate resistance to the regime of occupation, apartheid, racism and colonialism that Barak’s party aims to helm.
The Israeli elections are being used to fuel one attack on the other upon the Palestinian people, from “anti-BDS minister” Gilad Erdan‘s alliance with the most overtly racist and reactionary settlers to invade al-Aqsa and displace Palestinian worshippers, to escalating threats of war from Gaza to Iran, to the promotion of a “neo-Oslo” normalization by Barak’s pseudo-leftist party whose very name is a fundamental contradiction: “Democratic Israel,” based on apartheid and colonization. Attempts by the Palestinian Authority to promote such figures come only at the expense of the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights.
The Oslo process has never been anything but deeply destructive to the Palestinian people, and normalization has never done anything but undermine Palestinian rights and cover up the reality of a struggle between a colonizer exerting its domination in alliance with the most powerful imperialist forces in the world and a colonized people continuing to struggle and resist.
While the Zionist parties may debate intensely with each other over a range of issues, they are unified in their commitment to the apartheid regime, the dispossession of the Palestinian people, the denial of Palestinian rights, the colonization of Palestinian land and the labeling of Palestinian resistance as “terror.” They compete with each other about how to more “effectively” combat the “Iranian strategic threat” and “Palestinian terror.” None of the Zionist parties recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people, and all are committed to denying Palestinian refugees’ right to return. Palestinians – especially Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – are labeled “extremists” for pursuing their rights at the same time that occupation forces invade Palestinian homes on a daily basis and impose a deadly siege on the Gaza Strip.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges people around the world committed to Palestinian rights and especially Palestinian communities in exile to confront these dangerous normalization meetings. Instead, we must prioritize Palestinian prisoners and refugees, fighting for their fundamental right to return home and putting their bodies and lives on the line within Israeli occupation prisons in hunger strikes for dignity, justice and freedom. Any attempt to promote Zionist parties that continue to reject fundamental Palestinian rights, including by the Palestinian Authority and reactionary Arab regimes, can only harm Palestinians struggling for their lives, land and liberation.
We join the demand to immediately bring to an end the so-called “Committee for Communication with Israeli Society” in the PLO, which is in reality a mechanism to promote normalization with Zionist war criminals and their official political parties and institutions. We urge all friends of Palestine to confront normalization with intensified mobilization to support Palestinian refugees struggling in Gaza, Lebanon and around the world for their rights, and Palestinian prisoners on the front lines fighting for freedom. In particular, this is a critical moment to escalate the international call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and the complicit corporations that continue to prop up its colonial regime.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the passing of Nader Abuljebain, Palestinian writer and lifelong activist, in California on 11 August 2019. Nader Abuljebain was born in 1950 to Palestinian parents from Yafa, occupied Palestine, and attended school in Kuwait before university in the United States.
He lived between the United States and Kuwait throughout his life, and he was a dedicated activist for Palestine and a strong exponent of the Right of Return movement. He was an early member of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, in the United States, where he organized together with many activists across generations who continue to mobilize for Palestine today, including those involved with Samidoun.
He was a strong leader in the anti-war movement, especially the widespread protests against the U.S. war on Iraq and the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, and frequently spoke at demonstrations representing the Free Palestine Alliance.
He participated in numerous conventions and international mobilizations in support of Palestine and the Palestinian people, and he always held his eyes fixed on return, signing his messages tirelessly, “Until return, Hatta al-Awda.”
His work lives on in his book, “Palestinian History in Postage Stamps,” documenting the historical legacy of postage stamps in Palestine, including Ottoman stamps, Egyptian stamps, British mandate stamps, stamps produced by the Palestinian resistance and the PLO, stamps produced to support the Palestinian people around the world and other postage documents that represent the history of the Palestinian people, with extensive documentation in Arabic and English.
His legacy also lives on in the continuing work of so many who learned from and worked with him throughout his life, remaining committed to his clear vision: the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.
As he wrote, “The very fact of our continued existence in the face of the world’s longest standing and horrific occupation is living testimony to the heroism of our people. This process has given the newer generations a pride of their ancestry and heritage and the momentum and strength to resist inside Palestine and in exile. Under the leadership of Palestinian community-based groups, we must all assume a larger role in cultural activism focusing on the Right of Return, and reminding the world that colonial ‘Israel’ was not established on an empty piece of land but rather its imposition was based on a slow genocide and expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs, and the expropriation of the Arab Palestinian land. Anywhere in the world people know they live on the land, but for the Palestinians their land lives in them. They are inextricably and intimately linked to that space and that land in all of Arab Palestine. There will be no lasting peace in the region UNLESS that link, that organic unity between the exiled Palestinians and their homeland, is restored. It is at the core of the Palestinian struggle.”
Palestinian prisoner Bassam Sayeh, 44, is suffering a serious deterioration in his health, and he was taken to intensive care on Tuesday, 6 August. Sayeh, imprisoned in Israeli jails since 8 October 2015, suffers from bone cancer and leukemia and chronic heart problems. After being repeatedly transferred to the Ramleh prison clinic, he was finally transferred to the civilian Afula hospital after his health deteriorated further.
Sayeh, from Nablus, is unable to eat and has reportedly lost consciousness. He is considered to be one of the most severely ill Palestinian prisoners, and his heart, liver and lungs have been weakening since his imprisonment. He suffers from heart failure, pulmonary congestion and an enlarged liver, and his lungs function at only 25% of normal capacity. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 30 years. He was accused of participating in supporting a resistance operation against Israeli settlers. Sayeh was seized by occupation forces as he went to the Salem military court near Jenin for the hearing of his then-imprisoned wife Mona.
Sayeh was denied visits from his wife Mona for almost three years, and only saw her for the first time since his arrest in January 2018. He has suffered from bone cancer since 2011 and leukemia since 2013. Mona Sayeh said that despite his illness, he had been repeatedly subjected to crackdowns and mistreatment by Israeli jailers accusing him of having a cell phone.
During his time in Israeli prison, Sayeh has struggled for access to necessary surgery and has dealt with interference with chemotherapy as well as denial of access to independent specialist doctors. Sayeh’s health situation is one of the most severe inside Israeli prisons, but medical neglect is a significant issue for many Palestinians. 220 Palestinians have lost their lives inside Israeli jails, many in cases connected to medical neglect, like that of Nasser Taqatqa in July 2019.
There are at least 23 Palestinian prisoners with cancer and around 100 seriously ill prisoners. In the past, Palestinian prisoners have died shortly after their release, reporting long-delayed testing and treatment during their time in Israeli prisons.
In addition, the protest, being organized with a large participation of youth and students, is also meant to elevate the level of popular support for Palestinian refugees in the camps in Lebanon fighting for civil, social and economic rights and against unjust and discriminatory laws. Palestinians in the West Bank and in diaspora, including those in Lebanon, together filmed a video calling for the march and urging the widest participation in the event.
The protest will include human rights organizations, advocates for Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners and the families of the prisoners on hunger strike. Samidoun activists noted that the Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails are engaged in a daily battle of steadfastness to bring an end to administrative detention, while there is a rising movement in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. They called people to participte in the demonstration, particularly as it aims to confront U.S. and Zionist attempts to liquidate Palestinian rights and the Palestinian cause altogether.
There are currently 29 Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike and 40 more have expressed their intention to join the strike on Monday, 5 August. This demonstration comes to mobilize full support for the prisoners whose bodies and lives are on the line to win their freedom and that of the Palestinian people.
Solidarity sit-in in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Dheisheh refugee camp
On 24 July, Palestinian prisoners Jafar Ezzedine and Ahmad Zahransuspended their hunger strikes after receiving a commitment from the Israeli occupation forces to end their administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Ezzedine had gone without food for 39 days and Zahran for 32 days. Both have spent years in Israeli prison in the past. Hassan al-Zaghari also suspended his hunger strike on 26 July after an agreement to end his administration and not renew his detention again, securing his release in six months. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Jafar Ezzedine, Ahmad Zahran and Hassan al-Zaghari on their victories over injustice and arbitrary imprisonment and looks forward to their liberation.
One day later, reports noted that four more Palestinian prisoners had joined the five remaining striking prisoners; there are currently 8 Palestinians on hunger strike against imprisonment without charge or trial. Israeli administrative detention orders are issued for one to six months at a time on the basis of so-called “secret evidence” and are indefinitely renewable; Palestinians have spent years jailed with no charge and no trial under repeatedly renewed detention orders.
Abu Aker reported that he was transferred in the middle of the night while suffering from severe headaches and body pain as a result of his strike. He has lost at least 16 kilograms (33 pounds) since the beginning of his hunger strike and reports various types of retaliation: he was barred from recreation and even buying cigarettes for seven days, jailers have placed food in his room in repeated attempts to tempt him to eat (even telling him “today the food is tasty” and was denied underwear, toothbrush and toothpaste. Hassanat also reported losing 17 kilograms (35 pounds) since starting his strike and noted that the guards put meals at his door in order to pressure him to break the strike.
Abu Aker and Hassanat were reportedly taken on 25 July to the Ramle clinic along with Halabiya, whose health condition was already precarious. A leukemia survivor, he also suffered burns as a child over 90 percent of his body. His daughter, Majdal, is now six months old but has not met her father; she was born while he has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Meanwhile, Sultan Khallouf of Burqin has been on hunger strike for nine days in Megiddo detention center. He immediately launched an open-ended hunger strike after his administrative detention order on 18 July to reject his imprisonment with no charge or trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” He was arrested by occupation forces on 8 July and is a former prisoner who spent four years in Israeli prisons. He is married.
Ahmad Ghannam, 42, from Dura near al-Khalil, also joined the hunger strike against his ongoing imprisonment without charge or trial, as did Ismail Ali, 30, of Abu Dis, Jerusalem (also the hometown of Huzaifa Halabiya.) Munir al-Abed, 22, and Hamza Awad, 23, both from the village of Kobar near Ramallah, have been jailed without charge or trial since February 2019. They launched their hunger strikes on 21 July to demand their liberation from administrative detention.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the victories of Jafar Ezzedine, Ahmad Zahran and Hassan al-Zaghari. We know more such victories are possible for all Palestinian prisoners and against the system of Israeli colonial administrative detention. We urge all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests and petitions can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.
Seven Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open hunger strikes against Israeli administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, despite intensified repression and worsening health situations. In particular, Jafar Ezzedine and Huzaifa Halabiya are suffering from serious health problems after 37 and 22 days of hunger strike, respectively.
The seven prisoners currently on hunger strike are:
Jafar Ezzedine, on hunger strike for 37 days
Ahmad Zahran, on hunger strike for 30 days
Mohammed Abu Aker, on hunger strike for 22 days
Mustafa Hasanat, on hunger strike for 22 days
Huzaifa Halabiya, on hunger strike for 22 days
Hassan al-Zaghari, on hunger strike for 14 days
Sultan Khalaf, on hunger strike for 5 days
Halabiya, 28, from Abu Dis near Jerusalem, is on strike to protest his imprisonment without charge or trial under Israeli administrative detention. He suffered burns over 60% of his body in childhood and is a leukemia survivor with heart and liver problems. He is being held in the Ela detention center in isolation, where he was transferred in retaliation for his hunger strike.
Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike for 37 days after he was arbitrarily transferred to administrative detention after completing a five-month prison sentence on 16 June 2019. He is being held at the Ramleh prison clinic after losing over 22 kg (45 pounds) of weight and suffering from dizziness, weakness and severe headaches. He has carried out several long-term hunger strikes in the past while held in administrative detention. He suffers from severe and persistent insomnia and vomiting of stomach acids.
All of the strikers have been subjected to serious repression and retaliation for their hunger strikes, including denial of family visits, transfer from one prison to another, a particularly harsh situation for prisoners not receiving nutrients, and solitary confinement and isolation. The strikers face round-the-clock harassment, room invasions and loud noises from prison guards as a form of sleep deprivation. Abu Aker was tranferred to isolation in Ashkelon prison while Mustafa Hasanat was transferred to isolation in Ohli Kedar prison. Halabiya, Abu Aker and Hasanat were all transferred one day before their lawyers’ scheduled visits, preventing them from meeting with their lawyers.
Jafar Ezzedine has been detained since 30 January 2019. Sentenced to a five-month prison sentence by an Israeli military court, he was instead transferred to imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his announced release. He has carried out three previous long-term hunger strikes. He is married and the father of eight children.
Ahmad Zahran, 42, from Deir Abu Mashal village near Ramallah, has spent a total of 15 years in Israeli prison; he has been jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention since March 2019 and is held in the Ramla prison clinic. He is married and the father of four children.
Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, from Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, is a former prisoner, student activist and organizer in the camp. He has been jailed without charge or trial since 1 November 2018; he is the son of Nidal Abu Aker, who has himself frequently been jailed under administrative detention.
Mustafa Hassanat, 21, from Dheisheh refugee camp, has been jailed without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation since 5 June 2018. He is also a youth activist and organizer in Dheisheh camp.
Huzaifa Halabiya has been jailed without charge or trial since 10 June 2018 despite a need for serious health treatment and follow-ups following his cancer treatment.
Hasan al-Zaghari, from Dheisheh camp, was also scheduled to be released after completing a seven-month prison sentence. Instead, he was ordered jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention on the day of his release. He is being held in isolation in Ofer prison.
Sultan Khalaf, 38, from Burqin near Jenin, was ordered to administrative detention on 18 July 2019. He immediately launched an open-ended hunger strike to reject his imprisonment with no charge or trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” He was arrested by occupation forces on 8 July and is a former prisoner who spent four years in Israeli prisons. He is married.
Several other administrative detainees, including Ihsan Othman, Fidaa Damas and Jamal Tawil, suspended their hunger strikes after reaching agreements to end their imprisonment without charge or trial.
Lawyers from Addameer visited Ezzedine and Zahran at the Ramle prison clinic on 17 July. Both noted that immediately after announcing their hunger strikes, they were transferred to filthy, humid cells in the summer heat and subjected to ongoing invasions by prison guards, especially at night. Addameer lawyers were scheduled to meet with Abu Aker, Halabiya and Hasanat but were prevented from doing so due to the sudden transfers to isolation imposed on the three hunger strikers.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.
As Palestinian prisoner Fidaa Damas launched her open hunger strike, the number of Palestinian prisoners continuing their hunger strike against Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial reached seven: Jafar Ezzedine, Ihsan Othman, Ahmad Zahran, Mohammed Abu Aker, Mustafa al-Hassanat, Huzaifa Halabiya Baderand Fidaa Damas. Damas, 25 and a student at Al-Quds Open University, is currently the only Palestinian female prisoner held in administrative detention of approximately 50 Palestinian women prisoners. From Beit Ummar near al-Khalil, she has been jailed since May 2018.
Jafar Ezzedine, 48, has been on hunger strike since 16 June, when he was scheduled to be released from a five-month sentence in Israeli prison. Instead of returning to his waiting family in Jenin, he was instead ordered to three months in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. Ezzedine is a veteran of administrative detention and has carried out four previous hunger strikes in the past against his imprisonment on the basis of secret evidence. Reports indicate that his health is deteriorating and he is experiencing serious pain. In retaliation for his protest, he has been thrown into solitary confinement and bared from family visits or the “canteen” (prison store.) He has also reported frequent night invasions by guards searching his room, depriving him of sleep.
Ihsan Othman, 21, a student at al-Quds University, has also been on hunger strike since 16 June. He was transferred to a hospital after the deterioration of his own health; he has been on hunger strike against his imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been jailed since 12 September 2018; when held in administrative detention in the past, he participated in the Karameh hunger strike of 2017.
Ahmad Zahran, 42, of Deir Abu Mashal near Ramallah has been on hunger strike since 20 June, protesting his administrative detention. He was previously imprisoned for 15 years in Israeli jails. His strike prompted his comrades also held in administrative detention, Mohammed Abu Aker, 24, Mustafa Hassanat, 21, and Huzaifa Halabiya, 28, to launch their own hunger strike on 1 July. All three were transferred on Sunday, 7 July from the Negev desert prison to solitary confinement in retaliation for their hunger strike. Their mattresses are confiscated every day from 6 am to 7 pm in order to prevent them from resting, despite the fact that they are experiencing extreme fatigue as a result of the strike.
Abu Aker and Hassanat are both from Dheisheh refugee camp, where they are leading activists and community organizers. Halabiya is from Abu Dis, Jerusalem; he suffers from serious health problems as he was injured as a child, has burns over a significant percentage of his body and recently battled leukemia.
Five more prisoners suspended their strikes after receiving an agreement to end their administrative detention after 12 days without food: the five prisoners from Dura, near al-Khalil were brothers Mahmoud and Kayed al-Fasfous, Said al-Nammoura, Abdel-Aziz al-Suweiti and Ghandafar Abu Atwan.
Administrative detainees are discussing escalating protest steps to campaign against the ongoing policy of imprisonment without charge or trial. There are currently approximately 500 Palestinians jailed under administrative detention orders. Issued for one to six months at a time on the basis of secret evidence, these orders are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians regularly spend years at a time jailed under administrative detention.
The Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a second statement, highlighting the growing calls for action:
“First, this week, other prisoners with administrative detention orders, including some transferred to administrative detention after the expiration of the unjust sentences imposed on them by the military occupation courts, will be joining the strike.
Second, we warn the prison administration and the occupation intelligence from their continued violations of the rights of hunger striking prisoners.
Third, we urge the masses of our people and the forces of the resistance to take action in support of the hunger striking prisoners through events, popular support and wide activities. In this role, we support the leading role of the committees to support the prisoners in Gaza for their many activities organized in support of the strikers. This is one of the most important pillars supporting the prisoners’ struggle and putting pressure on the levers of struggle for the prisoners and the hunger strikers in particular. We also appreciate the call of the national and Islamic forces in Ramallah to participate in actions on Tuesday in a national popular action to support the prisoners and reject all attempts to harm the Palestinian national liberation cause.
Fourth, we call on all movements in the national liberation struggle to develop their programs to support the administrative detainees and raise this issue in all levels and venues.
Fifth, we renew our call for former prisoners and administrative detainees, especially those who have previously engaged in hunger strikes, to participate in a day of support including a one-day hunger strike….
This united battle will widen and escalate and requires all support and solidarity to strengthen the prisoners who are engaged in this confrontation to enable them to achieve their goals.”
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges all to stand with these courageous prisoners who have put their lives on the line to seek freedom and an end to the unjust system of administrative detention. International solidarity can help them win their struggles, so all of our participation, protests, petitions and phone calls can play a role in helping them to seize victory for justice and freedom.
Barakat was a co-founder of No One Is Illegal in Vancouver in 2002, fighting racism, deportation and repression. The following statement was issued on 4 July:
Statement of solidarity with Khaled Barakat from No One Is Illegal-Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish territories
We write in solidarity with comrade Khaled Barakat facing political censorship and repression in Germany. Khaled Barakat was a founder of the No One Is Illegal network and movement in Vancouver, advocating for the rights of Palestinian refugees and for all refugees in Canada, and fighting for the right of return for Palestinian refugees. He articulated a clear connection between Israeli apartheid and Canadian settler-colonialism. As a member of No One Is Illegal and as an active leader in social movements in Vancouver and across Canada, he was a consistent and passionate organizer against Zionist occupation and U.S imperialism and for Palestinian liberation from the river to the sea.
We stand unconditionally with Khaled Barakat. The attacks on Khaled Barakat are part of the illegal Israeli state’s attempt to quell the Palestinian diaspora in exile and the international Palestinian solidarity movement. The attempt to silence our friend Khaled Barakat occurs in the context of a campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations globally. By barring Khaled Barakat’s right to speak at demonstrations or meetings, threatening him with prison time, and potentially denying him and his wife the right to reside in Germany, the German state is aligning with the racist Israeli state. The illegal occupation of Palestine has been perpetuated by targeted killings, ethnic cleansing, massacres, torture, assassinations, humiliations at hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks, curfews confining entire populations to their homes, caging of Palestinians in jails and open air prisons, annexation of Palestinian-owned land, building of illegal settlements, demolitions of homes and a systematic policy of material deprivation- all of which should be rightfully and legitimately exposed and resistance to which does not constitute anti-Semitism.
We offer our continued unconditional and unequivocal support to the Palestinian resistance movement against Zionist/Israeli apartheid and occupation. We support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign as a strategy of international solidarity. We oppose the Zionist-Eurocentric settler-colonial foundation of the State of Israel that claims a racist, exclusionary, and privileged Jewish identity and has, since its inception, violently displaced and discriminated against Palestinian people. We affirm the fundamental and inalienable right of all Palestinian refugees to return to the original towns, villages, and lands of 1948 and 1967 occupied Palestine from which they were expelled.
Knowing Khaled Barakat, we know he will not be intimidated nor be silenced. We will not be intimidated or silenced either, and we reiterate that we stand with him. We demand an end to the ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestinian lands, an end to the apartheid system in Palestine, full recognition of the fundamental right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and an end to all forms of international support for Israeli war crimes. Palestine will be free.
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany has also come under attack from anti-Palestinian forces in Germany, particularly in 2017 when politicians demanded the prohibition of the Internationalist Alliance because of its inclusion of supporters of the PFLP among its ranks. The statement is below:
Statement of solidarity against political repression against Khaled Barakat The MLPD hereby expresses its solidarity with Khaled Barakat and condemns his expulsion from Germany.
The order of the Foreigners’ Authority of Federal Republic of Germany against you confirms the further repressive legal development of the Federal Government and the bourgeois parties. This order has been made without any evidence of a police defense against dangers.
With the passing of the new police laws, the “orderly return law” of Minister of Interior Seehofer and the reactionary condemnation of the German Bundestag against the BDS campaign it becomes clear: It is not about the prevention or prosecution of offenders and fascists like Anis Amri and the fascist Stephan E. who according to his own statements murdered the CDU politician Lübcke, but instead directed against the people and groups who are committed to international friendship, freedom and democracy. It serves to intimidate those who publicize and denounce the crimes committed by the Israeli military and Zionist government against the Palestinian people, including the false assertion that Khaled Barakat’s political and journalistic activity “brings foreigners against each other.”
Khaled Barakat is accused of belonging to an organization that is on the terrorist list of the US and Israel as well as the EU! President Trump calls the Chief Executive of North Korea “the dictator and enemy of world peace,” and the next day he is “his best friend.” This terrorist list depends on where and how best the imperialists can obtain money and political influence. The imperialists understand this, while claiming to respect peace and democracy. What a double standard!
The Federal Government’s decision to label the BDS campaign as anti-Semitic campaign is as unfounded as it is for the Palestinian forces who have been in reality fighting for years against the oppression, expulsion and murder of the Palestinian people.
We condemn this criminalization and denial of essential democratic rights and freedoms and will make this statement known and continue to protest.
Immediate withdrawal of the orders against Khaled Barakat!
Raise high international solidarity!
Proletarians of all countries unite!
With solidarity greetings Monika Gärtner-Engel International secretary of the MLPD
SGB (Sindacato Generale di Base)
The SGB, an Italian rank-and-file trade union, sent a letter from President Massimo Botti to the German Ambassador in Italy denouncing the attack on Khaled Barakat and the ongoing campaign to smear the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The letter called for the defense of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, protection of freedom of expression and cancellation of the political ban on Khaled Barakat. See the letter below:
Hundreds of people took to the streets in Paris, France, on Saturday, 22 June to demand the liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the imprisoned Arab struggler for Palestine who has been jailed in France for nearly 35 years. After the large demonstration, attacks have poured in from the French far right and pro-apartheid organizations, as documented by the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (translation below from the original French)
A story that comes (again) from afar
We can recognize the “quality” of these attacks in their consistency. Indeed, the Zionist far right and its allies have been repeatedly outraged by the growing support for the release of Georges Abdallah, Arab Communist and fighter for Palestine imprisoned in France since 1984 and eligible for release since 1999.
Since his arrest in 1984, Georges Abdallah has suffered repeated attacks from the supporters of the apartheid regime.
In 2016, during a film screening about Georges Abdallah at Utopia in Toulouse, the CRIF defamed the resister Georges Abdallah and the organizations that support him by attempting (unsuccessfully) to ban the event.
A few months ago, La France Insoumise member of parliament Danièle Obono was subjected to a wave of insults on Twitter for her support for the longest-held political prisoner in Europe. Among these Twitter attacks, one could count that of the lawyer-editorialist for the extreme right, Gilles William Goldnadel, or those of the leaders of the Printemps Républicain, Gilles Clavreul and Laurent Bouvet.
The campaign targeting only this one parliamentarian while dozens of prominent political figures also support Georges Abdallah must raise clear questions. This is especially true as many attacks referred to “integration” and the “values of the Republic,” long-established anti-Black, racist dog-whistles.
Misrepresentation in the service of Israel
The “controversy” surrounding the Paris demonstration for Georges Abdallah was sparked following an article in the pro-Israel, far-right website “Le Monde Juif,” close to the Jewish Brigade and the Jewish Defense League. This article, accompanied by a video, claims that the demonstrators chanted “Death to Israel,” (“A mort Israel” in French) and thus reflects anti-Semitism in the streets of Paris.
Even though it is very clear in the video that the slogan being chanted is actually “Down with Israel,” (“A bas Israel” in French) this is a classic refrain of the supporters of Israeli apartheid. They repeatedly affirm the Zionist claim that attempts to assimilate all Jews under the banner of the Zionist state. What is targeted in this slogan is the Israeli state, as a colonial, racist and advance base of Western imperialism in the region.
The accusation of anti-Semitism is too serious to be taken lightly. We condemn these wretched propaganda operations which aim to cast opprobrium upon a campaign that actually has great political clarity. Indeed, this campaign supports the struggle of Georges Abdallah and his organizations – the FARL as well as the PFLP – who fought and still fight against colonialism and racism, and for a free and democratic Palestine from the river to the sea.
Leading politicans support the attacks
This campaign, initiated by the most extreme ultra-Zionist networks, was soon joined by several prominent politicians.
For example, Les Républicains leader Eric Ciotti said, “hearing ‘Death to Israel’ on the streets of France in 2019 is unacceptable. This anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic act is intolerable.” Note also that he uses the same amalgamation as President Macron in an attempt to criminalize anti-Zionism.
Eric Ciotti ✔@ECiotti
Entendre “Mort à Israël” dans les rues de France en 2019 est insoutenable.
Cet acte antisioniste et antisémite est intolérable.
This new campaign of defamation helps to reveal that, in the diversity of its expressions, the campaign for the liberation of Georges Abdallah is growing and disturbing the defenders of racism and colonialism. The Collectif Palestine Vaincra asserts on this occasion its support for the Jeunes Révolutionnaires, initiator of the red block that is attacked in the video, which has been attacked on multiple occasions on social networks in this regard.View image on Twitter
Meanwhile, LREM deputy Sylvain Maillard will propose that the National Assembly adopts the “IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” which is yet another attempt to censor support for the Palestinian people. We must not allow France to criminalize anti-Zionism; this is our duty to everyone.